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Upon Destiny's Song Book Cover

In 1856 the Ole Madsen family set sail from their native Denmark seeking an American Zion, answering the call of early leaders of their newfound religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once docked in New York City, they still stood two thirds of a continent from their dreams. They traversed 1,300 miles of that land pulling a handcart packed with their meager belongings, assigned to the Willie Company, one of ten such pioneer companies that made the trek from the Midwest to Utah Territory on foot. An already difficult task took a harrowing turn for the worse when food rations ran out and harsh winter storms descended while they were still hundreds of miles from their objective. As the family lay huddled together on the crest of Wyoming’s Rocky Ridge, freezing to death, they learned the true meaning of faith, sacrifice and family.

Their story echoes across the expanse of time as descendent Mike Ericksen and his family search for these ancestors. As Ericksen flips through pages of aged documents and pores over family trees online, he discovers truths that leave him in awe. He learns of his great-grandmother Marie’s struggles and finds a consoling connection to her by telling her powerful story through music. Through it all he comes to understand the powerful ripple effect of everyday decisions and the significance of being true heroes.

Mike Ericksen has previously chronicled the amazing story of his family’s roots through song and speaking engagements at LDS firesides across the country. Now the engrossing stories of his ancestors and the lessons he’s learned in pursuit of their legacy are finally available in Upon Destiny’s Song.

Praise for Upon Destiny's Song

[Upon Destiny’s Song is] a concurrent journey [that] took Ericksen to the very core of his own spiritual being where he tested the rigors of his ancestors’ lives against the challenges and blessings of his own modern sojourn…

Twila Van Leer, Journalist

…This is truly a book that is hard to put down. …Well-written. Sobering…Inspiring. Having walked these trails by myself, and with a film crew…I have a visual appreciation for what [has been] committed to words.

Lee Groberg, Groberg Films

Upon Destiny’s Song does a creative and clear job of making the invisible visible. [It] is a story of sacrifice, loving concern, and family working together against impossible odds. The book makes clear the challenges that exist for every generation and the impact the choices we make may have on our life and those that come after us. This is not an “everything turns out okay” story. It is real life molded and formed by the decisions we make. Upon Destiny’s Song is told in a warm and beautifully written way. If you like books that help put life in perspective you will thoroughly enjoy Upon Destiny’s Song. You will not come away disappointed.

Norm Bosworth, BCI Video

Ericksen and Steadman have given a tremendous new voice to the Ole and Ane Madsen family. Veterans of the 1856 Willie handcart pioneer company, the Madsen family’s trek spanned the spectrum of that experience – from steely determination to the most sacred sacrifice of all…Interwoven with Ericksen’s own “trek” and the story of “how he awoke” is a story that is guaranteed to awake every reader. The writing has taken me into their homes, their lives, their hearts, and their dreams.

Jolene Allphin, Tell My Story, Too

What Readers Are Saying

good reads

I was thoroughly moved by both the writers experience and that of [the Madsen family]; It touched me more deeply than any other pioneer story I have ever encountered.  I know I will carry it in my heart for the rest of my days…

Lauren, Blogger

I felt the spirit of the message. [Ericksen and Steadman] have done a great job. I was intrigued and anxious to move through each chapter.


Reading [Upon Destiny’s Song] was an enjoyable experience for me…It helped give me new perspective on several things in my life.